Introduction: Homemade Ardennes Pate

About: I'm mainly interested in music, food and electronics but I like to read and learn about a lot more than that.

I am a Belgian (although I live in The Netherlands) and we belgians are known for our love of great food. We don't count calories and we love our meats. This recipe is a nice example of that food and so it is not for the faint-hearted and especially not for the vegetarians (sorry).

This recipe is attributed to the Ardennes region, a region in the south of Belgium most known in the UK and the US for the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-1945. 

I make this recipe only a few times a year. It is rather labour intensive so you should take your time for it.

This pate tastes great with my red onion chutney.

Step 1: Ingredients

What do we need:

  • equal amounts of pork fillet, pork liver and pork fat (belly fat) in this case 250 grams of each
  • an egg
  • 100ml of cream
  • 4 tbsp of brandy
  • 2 tsp of peppercorns
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tsp of thyme
  • pepper and salt
  • 40grams of butter
  • 150grams of cooked ham

Step 2: Mince and Prepare the Meat

Dice the liver, the fillet and the fat so that it can be minced easy. Mince it  and stir it so that the 3 components are spread evenly.

Take care when you work with raw meat (especially pork). Use a seperate knife and cuttingboard for it. Make sure that everything is cleaned up properly afterwards.

Add the egg and the cream and stir it properly. Store it in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.

Step 3: Shallots and Garlic and Herbs

Clean the shallots and garlic and chop them as finely as possible. Then glaze them in some of the butter. Set it aside to cool.

While it cools you can crush up the cloves in a pestle and mortar.

Step 4: Prepare the Meat

Take the meat from the fridge and add the cloves and shallots. Pour 4tbsp of brandy in the mix together with 2tsp of thyme and the rest of the butter (keep some to butter up the bakingmould).
Give it a quick stir and season with pepper and salt. 
Finally add the ham and 2tsp of peppercorns and give it another quick stir to spread them evenly.

Step 5: The Baking

Butter a ceramic bakingmould and spoon in the meat mix. Preheat your oven to 180degr. C. Place the mould onto a baking tray and fill the tray with boiling water. The water will turn into steam in your oven and will prevent your pate from drying out.
Cook the pate for 90mins in the oven and check the waterlevel in the tray regularely.

Step 6: Cooling Down.

After 90mins, the pate is coocked. Remove it from the oven and remove the excess juices in the mould. Cover the pate wit aluminium foil or baking paper and put a weight on top while it cools down. In my case, I used a sleightly smaller mould filled with water. Adding the weight will force more of the liquid fat out of the pate and will give it a nice and firm structure.

When it is cooled down, you still can't eat it. I know ... life is unfair.... It should rest for at least 12 hours in the fridge.

This pate tastes great with my red onion chutney.

Bon appetit

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